I have my own vision as to how the modernisation of the AMA (WA) can occur, with a view to maximising our effective influence with sophisticated and thoughtful policy advocacy informed by constant member input. But the President is just one person charged with leadership. As Chairman of our Council and Board, and our public face, I pledge to always put doctors and your patients at the centre of the work we do.
However, we all need to come on the journey if change is to be meaningful, sustainable and an opportunity to really use our great asset in a way that inspires us as doctors and achieves our aims.
Early experiments with seeking your feedback on specific issues have shown me that doctors are not shy of sharing opinions and that you seem to appreciate an opportunity to do so. On both pharmacy incursion into General Practice, and voluntary assisted dying, my views and the AMA (WA)’s approach have been informed greatly by your responses.
So now I am asking you to consider – where to for the AMA (WA)? What would you like to see us prioritise for say, the next 2-5 years?
We already have some successful businesses – Medical Products, Financial and Insurance Services, our associate Health Training Australia, and a charitable foundation that runs the Dr YES youth education program in high schools. We are also opening a college in Joondalup next year for health administration students.
All of these bring us resources above our membership income to advocate. And advocate we do – as you can tell from the VAD debate where the AMA (WA) featured heavily in Hansard, and our media presence where we are the go-to for any health-related issue in the State.
We run the industrial agreements for the public hospitals, private hospital employers and the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). For GPs and other specialists who utilise the MBS, we are working along with the Federal Council of the AMA on the MBS Review, Private Health Insurance issues and many other areas that impact across the disciplines.
We are active in public health advocacy, and commentate fearlessly on the performance of the State’s health system and Commonwealth programs. We go into bat for individual members who run into trouble – industrially and otherwise.
There is much to be done – so we need a strategy, a work plan and smart decisions about resource allocation. As the Board approaches these considerations in early 2020, it will be really useful to hear from you to ensure we align our plans closely with things that make you inspired and proud to be an AMA (WA) member.
Feel free to email or call me now or whenever an idea crops up, and look out for a chance to offer more structured input in our surveys. Your views are gold – essential in this process.
Thanks again for the honour and challenge of being your elected President – I look forward to interacting with as many doctors as possible as we make our plans for evolution of our great organisation into a professional, intelligent, agile and compassionate AMA (WA) that gets the right stuff done.
Have a great Christmas – for many no doubt involving a break of some sort, and for others, much work. We appreciate and respect your contributions one and all.